The Trade for Good model

Sharing brokerage is a common model within stockbroking. Most firms have their stockbrokers return 50 to 70 cents of every dollar of brokerage to the house, although with retail online trading, like CommSec, everything goes to the bottom line of the business. 

Trade for Good has turned this model on its head. It charges industry standard brokerage — even a little bit cheaper than the likes of CommSec and NABTrade — but shares half of that brokerage fee with one of its partner charities, as chosen by the investor. That way the investors get the receipt directly from the charity and can claim it in their tax. And for the charities, every time someone trades they get to clip the ticket. 

“We still have to make money to keep the business open, but we’re also going to disrupt this industry and build something that makes a massive difference.”

Where did the Trade for Good idea come from?

The finance industry isn’t known for its charity, but former stockbroker Alistair Warren is choosing good over greed. Alistair has spent most of his 37-year career in senior management roles at Australia’s leading stockbroking firms including McIntosh Securities and Merrill Lynch, and also founded D2MX which offers wholesale broking execution and ASX clearing services.

Disappointed in the industry, particularly with what happened in the GFC, Alistair decided it was time to give back. With time on his hands during the pandemic, Alistair, with his co-founder Ben Galamaga, conjured up the idea of Trade for Good — the first-ever institutional, wealth management, and retail trading platform dedicated to making an impact for humans, animals and the environment.  

The idea was “to incorporate what I know from the broking model, and make it a vehicle that can drive a social impact by raising money for charities in a sustainable, cost-effective way.”

Speaking to OnImpact, Alistair outlined what makes Trade for Good, good. 

Making this model of giving to charities sustainable

Using world-class technology and software, the boutique trading platform offers its model to a broad range of investors — from mums and dads to fund managers, family offices, wealth managers and industry super funds. 

Currently, it is more focused on partnering with progressive firms across the high networth, family office, and institution space. It recently plugged its trading into the Netwealth advisor platform and it is now talking to other platforms to do the same. 

Trade for Good has also been confirmed as a trading partner of Pitcher Partners, who “really love what we are doing”. Pitcher’s wealth management division, which manages about $5 billion, has added it to their panel list.

Institutions who partner with Trade for Good are supported across its network and social media, and receive ongoing promotion of what causes they are supporting.

While primarily focused in the institutional space, the retail business is growing organically. Alistair has found advertising to retail to be a tough and expensive market particularly with the rise in new ultra-low cost players like Superhero and Stake. But that’s not where Trade for Good wants to compete; it wants to make this model of giving to charities sustainable. 

“There are lots of great charities doing awesome work that we want help and have decided to help them, rather than being the cheapest on the street. The current retail trading brokerage pricing model is a race-to-bottom pricing that is not very sustainable. 

“We don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to make a positive difference in the world, particularly in Australia, by inspiring people in the finance industry to think of the community around them and how they can make positive change through Sustainable Investment.”

The charities

Trade for Good currently has 15 charities across humans, animals and the environment that investors can choose from and expects to limit the number of charities offered to no more than 30. With some 58,000 registered charities in Australia, that might sound like a small number. But rather than having a larger number of charities to select from, who would each receive only small amounts, this approach sees each charity receive enough to make a difference. 

The following are some of Trade for Good’s partner charities: 

  • Pancare Foundation – Australia’s not-for-profit pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancer organisation. Its purpose is to increase survival and provide specialised support to people affected by these devastating low-survival cancers.
  • Foodbank VIC – from everyday emergencies to bushfires or the current cost of living crisis, Foodbank has been providing vital food relief for 90 years. At $0.50c per meal it doesnt take a lot to make a difference. 
  • Carbon Positive Australia – an Australian charity that has been restoring degraded lands through ecologically sensitive planting for the last 21 years. $4.00 per tree can help slow Global warming.
  • Harrison Riedel Foundation – aims to identify the barriers to help-seeking of young people in time of distress and find a solution that addresses this key issue. Its free YourCrew phone app helps young people to ask for help.
  • Pet Rescue – is a national animal welfare charity with a vision of a future where every pet is safe, respected and loved.

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